What causes Erectile Dysfunction?

Dr Andrews

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is more common than many people realise, so don’t feel you are all on your own! It is also important to note that many otherwise healthy men of different age groups struggle to get or maintain an erection. Erectile Dysfunction may also be called Impotence.


ED may have different causes with the most common being a reduction in blood circulation to the penis as a result of getting older.


Patients often ask questions like “Does smoking cause impotence?” or “Does drinking too much cause Erectile Dysfunction” – and the simple answer is Yes. The reduction in blood circulation that can result in Erectile Dysfunction may be caused by your lifestyle. Alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drug use are all important contributing factors and cutting back on your use of them could be a useful first step before trying medication.

Stress and poor general health are also factors that may cause Erectile Dysfunction so trying to eat well and exercising can also have a positive impact.


Men who suffer from diabetes are more likely to have problems getting an erection.


ED can also be a side effect of some medicines used to treat other conditions including some blood pressure and anti-depressant medication. Read the patient information leaflet supplied with your medicine to check if Erectile Dysfunction is a listed side effect or check with your pharmacist.

Further factors include trauma or medical operations which have damaged the circulation or nerves in the penis.

As well as physical factors, psychological causes may also be present. If you can sometimes get an erection, but not always, it is more likely that your problem is psychological – sometimes referred to as “performance anxiety”. If you can never manage an erection, it is more likely that the cause of your issue will be physical.

Erectile Dysfunction can put a real strain on relationships and it is important that you talk to your partner about the issues. Hiding the problem or trying to resolve it yourself may make the “Performance Anxiety” worse. Your GP may offer counselling which can be of further help.


It is recommended that all men who suffer from Erectile Dysfunction should discuss their problem with a GP.


At Dr Andrews, we understand that Erectile Dysfunction can be an embarrassing topic to discuss, but with the variety of safe and effective treatments that have been developed over the years we can help resolve ED problems in many cases. The treatments offered by Dr Andrews are from the same family of drugs and work in the same way: by helping get more blood flow to the penis and allowing sexual stimulation to cause an erection. The treatments will not work without sexual stimulation.

More information about the treatments available can be found in the Dr Andrews Fact Sheet.

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